I Need a Critique: Prescient Economic Thoughts

Trip Start Feb 08, 2008
Trip End Sep 11, 2009

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Today, interspersed with the on-going chain of economic news features devoted to the governments of the world and their efforts to get the World's economic engine going again, was a report from some agency with an interest in the environment. It mentioned something about the world currently running an environmental resource deficit. That is, natural resources are being consumed (note that word) at a greater rate than the world can naturally replenish. I think there was a figure of 30%. It all went by pretty fast, and it was but a sliver of a report.

Am I the only one to note the irony?

The world's capitalistic, market economy is currently experiencing a "crisis of confidence." There is a "credit crunch." Confidence. That is a secular word for belief. Belief: that is a hope based on no verifiable (ie., controlled, replicable) evidence. Credit is also a belief that at a later time something real will materialize.

So, recently, all that confidence in credit (neither of real substance) all just disappeared, escaping like a gas from a burst balloon. Now they are trying to regenerate confidence in a lack of substance. Get a belief going again.

As I understand it (and I have never studied economics; though I was a member of Junior Achievement at about the age of 14. That's where one learns the fundamentals of Capitalism, I think. You sell shares based on a belief of (faith in) future profit. You use the money from the sale of shares to purchase materials, tools, salaries, and the like, to create a product which you sell for a greater aggregate amount than the invested monies. And so on.) . . . . Anyway, as I understand it capitalism is based on a fundamental need (or is it just a desire) to grow. I mean, at root it's just kind of a gigantic Ponzi scheme, or perhaps Pyramid scheme--something like one of those--isn't it?

So, back to the irony of trying to regenerate the consumptive growth engine of Capitalism at a time when the resources to keep it going (much less just sustain an equilibrium) are diminishing. Am I missing something here? Will somebody advise me? They didn't seem to note or want to talk about this irony on CNN. I have yet to see an examination of this irony in any public forum. People debate the issues of each in its own sphere, but never in juxtaposition and interconnection.

How does growth-oriented Capitalism continue (or, for how long) after the downside of the "tipping point" in available natural resources has been passed? Well, you coast for a while, surely. And after a while, doesn't the ride begin to slow?

Capitalism needs to grow. Growth is based on either greater numbers in the consumer market place, or greater assumed wealth--that phantasmagoria of credit. I guess nobody (or way too few) want to limit--or stop--the creation of greater numbers of consumers (ie. world birth control). So here we have more "consumers" being generated as the consumables are becoming less. How long does this go on?

Well, presumably each person who wants to make a baby, even if they think about it, hopes that all goes well on beyond the life of that baby--and maybe that baby's baby. But who wants to really contemplate further beyond that?

These are some of my muddled thoughts from the road. Along with currently wondering how much of the Ottoman administrative structure was copied/learned from the Byzantines.
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